Report: Final: Ind vs SL, WT20 2014
Veteran Sangakkara powers SL to WT20 title
Playing in his last T20I, Kumar Sangakkara propelled Sri Lanka to a six-wicket win in the 2014 ICC World T20 final against former champions, India. The former Sri Lanka captain smashed 52 not-out off 35 balls to help SL lift the coveted trophy. Virat Kohli’s 58-ball 77, to take India to 130 for four, went in vain as India lost the game in Dhaka.
Defending the modest target, Mohit Sharma struck on the first ball of the second over to give India an early breakthrough with the wicket of Kusal Perera. Mahela Jayawardene then came out to bat in his last T20I with his team in a similar position as the opposition at five for one in the second over.
However, in the Mohit’s next over, Tillakaratne Dilshan and his partner claimed 15 runs. While Jayawardene hit him over the ‘keeper’s head, Dilshan struck him on the leg side to up the momentum of the innings. But Ravichandran Ashwin ended the opener’s cameo by sending him back with the carrom ball.
The Indian spinners kept their team in the fray. The Sri Lankans were cruising along with Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara milking the Indian spinners, until the former hit Suresh Raina to Ashwin at mid-wicket. With the partnership between the two seasoned warhorses ending for 24, Lahiru Thirimanne walked out to the middle. Then it was Amit Mishra’s turn to give India the next breakthrough. The ball brushed past the bat and Dhoni took a low catch to leave SL on 78 for four.
But the experienced campaigner, Sangakkara, was still in the middle and he held the innings together. An over later, Thisara Perera lofted Mishra over long-on, while his senior partner timed the ball to the ropes. Playing his last T20I innings, Sangakkara entertained with some elegant stroke-play as he carried the innings forward. In the leg-spinner’s next over, Sangakkara drove him through extra cover, while Perera hammered the ball over long-on. His next big-hit went up in the skies, but couldn’t be caught by a diving Ajinkya Rahane.
However, the Indian spinners’ wickets taking deliveries – the carrom ball and googly – were struck all over the ground. Sangakkara raced to his half-century with a boundary to fine-leg, and two balls later, Perera struck the winning runs with a boundary off Ashwin.
Earlier, India lost Rahane in just the third over of the day. Angelo Mathews disrupted the opener’s stumps to leave India on four for one. But the loss of wicket brought Virat Kohli out to the middle. After getting off to a shaky start, Kohli was involved in a 60-run partnership with Rohit Sharma. He survived while on 11, as Lasith Malinga couldn’t hold on to a tough catch over his head at midwicket.
As expected, missing out on that tough chance proved expensive for the opposition. Kohli smashed the last ball of the over for a six to garner 10 runs off the over. Two quieter overs later, Rohit powered the ball through point for four, while Kohli hit Mathews over deep midwicket. With 14 runs coming off the over, India were 64 for the loss of one wicket midway through the innings.
However, in the next over, Rohit departed offering a catch to short cover where Sachithra Senanayake took a low catch. Yuvraj Singh, who then joined Kohli in the middle, played a more subdued knock, while his younger partner took on the bowlers in an effort to set Sri Lanka a competitive target. He stepped out to the spinners, hit Senanayake over extra cover for four and followed up by smashing Rangana Herath for a six in the next over. Kohli then brought up his fourth half-century of the tournament off 43 balls with a single to deep cover. An over later, he clobbered Nuwan Kulasekara for 16 runs as the innings entered the last quarter.
But the last four overs belonged to Sri Lanka. With Yuvraj Singh struggling to get the ball away, Senanayake and Malinga kept the batsmen on a tight leash giving away only four runs each. Yuvraj eventually departed hitting Kulasekara to long-off. With 11 balls left, MS Dhoni came out to bat, but Kulasekara and Malinga tied down the batsmen, conceding only 11 runs off the last two overs. As India looked to add to the total, Kohli perished to a run out off the last ball while trying to squeeze in an extra run.
MS Dhoni eyes third World Cup triumph
Captain Cool confident ahead of another grand finale
India captain MS Dhoni is one step away from his third World cup triumph. His journey as a captain has been a topsyturvy ride ever since he helped India lift the inaugural T20 World cup in 2007.
Triumphs, losses and controversies have been a part of his career till date, and describing his journey as a leader, he said, "Over the years that I have been the captain, I have seen almost everything. Good times, lean times, controversies, I have been through all. There is nothing really that I have not seen in cricket. There's hardly any good or bad in Indian cricket that happens without my name.”
Into his seventh year as India captain, MS Dhonisaid, it has been a learning curve for him all these years and he continues to be a student of the game. "It has been an interesting time, with ups and downs. It has taught me a lot and it's still a learning curve forme, and hopefully it will teach me many more in my coming life after cricket. I know there are certain things that are in my control. I look to move in that direction rather than thinking or living a thought that's beyond my control. And that has really helped me.”
When asked about handling pressure as India captain,he said that he liked to keep the pressures associated with his captaincy at the stadium. These are testing times for the team and a T20 World Cup victory under such circumstances should keep the team in good stead. India face Sri Lanka in the final and Dhoni was of the view thatbeing crowned champions was of utmost importance.
"It is important for us to play well and not think about the rest of the things. Winning the World Cup for the country is more important than thinking about the other stuff.”
India has won three major finals under Dhoni’s captaincy: the 2007 T20 World Cup, the 2011 World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy. Will the 2014 T20 World Cup be added to that list? That will be answeredonly once the action unfolds on Sunday.